So, most of you probably know that in addition to writing this blog where I get real and serious about the lifestyle, I also write novels and short stories in the BDSM genre. Some of you probably came here after reading my books. Others stumbled on the blog through web searches looking for kink articles.
Most of what I write is drawn from my experience as someone who has been a submissive her whole adult life, and also at times a Dom. I’ve also worked in the BDSM industry as an artist and writer for many years. I’ve been to clubs and parties. I’ve had Doms, Tops, subs, even a Daddy. So, I’ve done a lot out there and my articles are based on what I’ve seen and learned. I think it’s a nice balance to my books.
Fiction is fiction and not meant to be a how-to guide. I would never want people to use my novels as a pattern for their relationship. Heck there’s no BDSM novel out there that I think people should try to emulate because the things that make fiction exciting are not the things you tend to want in a good relationship.
You don’t want bad guys trying to break you up. You don’t want emotional misunderstandings leading to angst and trauma that can be resolved later and lead to fantastic make-up sex. You definitely don’t want quasi-consent and borderline kidnapping to start a relationship even though those can be hot in fiction.
In a real relationship you want communication and understanding and all the little things that come with knowing each other really well. The day to day minutia that bring people together might be boring to read about, but it’s what makes a real partnership.
So, when the topic comes up about how much responsibility an author should take in making sure people are well educated through their fiction, I have to say…that depends. A lot of it is going to be determined by genre.
Children and young adults have minds that aren’t fully formed. They learn best through play and fun, and fiction is a great way to teach them how to navigate the world. So, when you’re writing books for young people, I do think you have to make sure to set up positive examples. It doesn’t mean you can’t have bad guys or bad situations, but in general you need to make sure you lead them to the right choices.
When it comes to what I write, which is romance, things are a little different. Romance is not, and never has been meant as an educational tool. It is pure fantasy meant to entertain and titillate. (I like using titillate because I’ll never reach an age where typing it doesn’t make me giggle, so you’re welcome.) And the only people who should be reading my books are adults.
I do try, on a small level, to put in good role-modeling, but only in that I think it’s unrealistic not to. I mean, if you’re writing a contemporary novel how many people are out there not bothering with safe sex anymore? The world being the way it is, that’s a priority for a lot of people. So, I don’t really put it in there to educate because if you’re coming to my books for an education on how to use condoms than you’ve missed a few steps and fiction isn’t where you should be.
Likewise, the safeword conversation comes up in my books frequently, in one way or another. Not because I think people need to be educated about them in their fiction, but just because to me that’s a realistic thing to happen when you’re dabbling in BDSM.
I don’t spend paragraph after paragraph lecturing about how to run a proper D/s relationship because that ruins the escape for readers who either already know that, or who don’t really intend to introduce D/s in their own lives, they just enjoy reading about it.
And quite honestly the things that I see are most popular in BDSM novels, are sexy to read, but not what you’d want to really experience. So, if I have borderline kidnapping, and quasi-consent relationships it seems a bit hypocritical at that point to harp on how important safewords and safe sex are.
That doesn’t mean the underlying messages in my fiction aren’t positive for the most part. The villains don’t win. The heroes learn to act better. The women slowly find the core of strength inside of themselves.
But what brought this topic to mind tonight was a reader comment I received recently. She’d just finished reading my second Sadec book (Taken By the Renegade) and while she enjoyed it she was hoping Tal and Kenzi from the first book would be coming back because she and her husband had been doing some acting in the bedroom incorporating my characters and it had apparently been very exciting for them. They were looking for more ideas, but they hadn’t made the same connection to the pair in the new book.
I could tell she was a little embarrassed to be telling me this and seemed to be worried I’d get mad or something, but she just needed to know if Kenzi and Tal would be back.
Hey, first of all, if my books rev up your love life, then I’m glad. Really, that’s like the best compliment. Second, please, by all means, have a blast roleplaying Sadec and human in the bedroom. I’ve roleplayed stranger things, trust me. And it doesn’t upset me at all to hear about it.
But I did feel like I had to throw out this warning to be careful because they seemed to be new at this, and the Sadec books are pretty heavy BDSM. I mean, I wouldn’t call them hardcore. They are more dark-ish than dark, and I’ve experienced almost everything in real life that was done to Kenzi, but they certainly aren’t just spanking and domestic discipline.
Most of my books up until then had focused more on spanking than anything else, and the additional kinky stuff was mostly to enhance the spanking scenes. One of the reasons I went with a different pen name for the sci-fi series was that with the Sadec books were dealing with sadists, sharing of human pets sexually, public punishment which is always a little humiliating, bondage, double-penetration, anal punishment, and all kinds of other things that might be a little overwhelming for new people.
I think they are fine, she laughed and said they were sticking to the tamer stuff, but it made me think how many people entered this lifestyle after 50Shades got them excited, and how often they got things wrong, because of what they’d read. I’m not going to put 50Shades down because I know a lot of people loved it, and you’re allowed to like what you like.
But a lot of us authors who have lived at least some of what we’re writing, could see the glaring mistakes in those books. It’s been really frustrating, because in a lot of ways those have been good for our genre. When they went mega-bestseller it opened a door for the rest of us, that was mostly closed before. We went from being fringe writers in a small niche genre, to being right up there on the lists and now a bestseller tag for this kind of book isn’t even unusual anymore.
But she got a lot wrong and it pulled a lot of new people in who were excited about the wrong things. Yep, it glorified some really negative stuff. I’m not going to bitch about the stalking, the controlling behavior, or the long-ass contract that no one actually in the scene ever would use outside of a few Master/slave relationships. Because—FICTION.
Whether you hate her books, or love them, you can’t deny that they got people excited about kink and that’s good for all of us. I’m not just talking about writers and readers of kink, but all of us as a community now have more opportunities and less hassles because of the popularity of those books. If friends and family find out about our secret side, it can now be easily explained as 50Shades stuff and they not only understand but often aren’t even shocked or horrified anymore.
Those books have literally calmed the vanillas down about our dangerous proclivities because some rewritten fanfic made it so hot that everyone has read it, seen the movies, or at least has a good idea of what they are about. It’s annoying given that she only knew the lifestyle from some not-too-deep research that got a lot wrong, but it is what it is.
There is good and bad in everything.
I will probably not ever have books that capture the world’s attention the way hers did. She was in the right place at the right time to go big. It had to happen to someone, but now that it has it’s made a lot of us aware of how strongly people have been affected by it. I can’t count the number of people who told me they first got interested in BDSM because of those books, so I do wonder how many people will read mine and decide to try it—and how many of those will take fiction as a guideline for a D/s relationship.
Am I going to stop writing anything that’s problematic? No, of course. That would be career suicide because people read romance for fantasy and excitement, and real life isn’t always sexy. They want problematic. They want non-con and quasi-con. They want thrilling old-fashioned grab-whatever-they-want men…on paper.
And most of them know that they don’t want that in real life too. For the rest of them, who aren’t sure of what they should be looking for in a partner, or a D/s relationship, or a Dom… well, that’s what this blog is for.
So, go ahead and roleplay fiction to your heart’s content. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that; I do it all the time, but when it comes to actually incorporating this into your lifestyle don’t look to fiction for role models, or patterns to follow no matter how much you love the author, or the books, or the characters. Look for real blogs, written by people who have lived this. This blog is just one of many out there.
They aren’t hard to find. You just have to look. Maybe mine doesn’t suit you, and that’s okay! I try to be broad in the topics I cover, and make things understandable for anyone from novice to expert, but I won’t be offended if you find another blog that answers your questions better than I can. It doesn’t matter who you learn from, as long as you’re learning the real stuff and not patterning your life after fictional characters.
And remember to stay healthy, stay safe, and stay home if you can!
5 Replies to “Fiction vs Reality”
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Really wonderful post. I like the way you define the fiction/reality dance and that you encouraged the reader to role-play while emphasising that BDSM romance is not the thing to base a real world D/s relationship on.
Thank you! It’s really a thin line. You want your books to excite people and make them curious, but you also want them to proceed with caution if they decide to incorporate any of it into their lives.
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